Words by Chris Wallace
Photography By Justin Chung

Deborah Royer, Le Labo Fragrances

Brooklyn, NY

“There's an ancient proverb,” Deborah Royer says, “that goes something like, ‘When you don't know where to go, look back where you come from.’"
Not that she seems to have any qualms about where she’s headed. On the contrary, Royer, who has been the Global GM and Chief Creative Officer of Le Labo Fragrances since 2014, seems incredibly comfortable in the world, and her place in it — maybe even uniquely so for someone so tall and lean. Even at nearly 6’ tall, she just fits, whether she is folded up, origami style in an embroidered chair in the lobby of the Bowery Hotel, at home in the West Village, or in the wonderfully scented wabi sabi offices of Le Labo Fragrances. “I used to just see so much sky, and fields, fields, fields,” she says, of her childhood on a farm outside a small village near Reims in France where her father, a farmer, still lives and works the land. And the touchstone of her early life is enormously informative, Royer says, in her values. “The hard work,” she says, “the commitment, the dedication, the genuine passion, and also the necessity of accepting your own vulnerability, your own powerlessness in the face of nature. You can do everything you want to prevent it, but if you are going to have a storm that is going to ruin everything, you have to accept it. So there is a resilience. I think I carry that on from my childhood — that and the dreaming.”

Full story available in Faculty Department Vol. 2

Photographed in 2019 – Brooklyn, NY